Reflecting Back

I always love this time of year. It is such a neat mixture of reflecting back and remembering what was, while looking ahead to what may be. With the start of a new year, everything feels so fresh, the possibilities endless. This is the time of year when one can set out to accomplish anything. Why, I wonder, can we not keep this feeling with us all year? I suppose we could, it would just take some effort…

Since this is the last day of the year, reflecting back seems fitting. Perhaps tomorrow, looking ahead will be in order.

2015 was a good year for our family. It was the first year in some time that we spent the entire year in the same place. (Might I just add what a pleasant change year-round income was!) That in itself is pretty impressive for us.

Rob has found a job that he thoroughly enjoys, and that makes me so happy. I think it is important to enjoy what you do. I was able to get a summer job, which enabled us to finish paying off Waldo. (Whoop!) I also worked the sugar beet harvest this fall, which was quite interesting. It had been on my “bucket list” for jobs for a few years now, so it was neat to finally be able to do it. Mostly, though, I just really enjoyed the time I was able to stay home.

I did feel bad that the kids did not get much of a summer vacation with both of us working, but they did not seem to mind. They kept themselves busy and before they knew it, it was time to head back to school. They have all done really well this year, and I continue to be amazed by just how fast they are growing up. They are as different as any kids can be, and sometimes I find it hard to believe that they are actually related.

It may not feel like we did a lot in 2015, but it feels like we accomplished a lot. No matter where the road leads us in upcoming years, I will forever be grateful for our time spent here in North Dakota.

Overall, 2015 was a really good year for us. In a way, I am sad to see it go. But there are some big changes in store for us in 2016, and one cannot help but be excited. I hope 2015 has been good to you and yours, and that you have much to look forward to in 2016!

Happy New Year!!

I’m Dreaming of a…

We woke up this morning to a few new inches of snow, and it has snowed lightly off and on all day. With no temperatures above freezing in the forecast, I think we are pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas.

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The kids are officially out for their winter break now, so a part of the day was spent outside playing in the snow. Charbie loves the snow about as much as the kids do, so he had a great time romping around, too.

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The kids even had me outside sledding with them. The hill behind the house is small, but it allows you to get up enough speed before crashing, which is always fun. Just for fun, I recorded a little video. If I were you, I would save my ears and turn down the volume before you watch it. 🙂 (I hope this works, I have never loaded a video before!)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

Headliner Happiness

When we bought our jeep, the fabric on the headliner was completely gone. The fiberglass was still there, but all of the fabric had been removed. One can only assume that it must have been a saggy, droopy mess, so the old owners just cut it all out.

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For almost two years, every time I got in the vehicle, I would make a mental note to replace the fabric. I had thought that I would have to find the fabric and put the padding on myself, but once I started doing a little research, I learned that that was not the case. You can actually buy replacement headliner fabric. I ordered some in the same light gray that had originally been there, then we set about replacing it.

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Since I was the one who kept whining about the dusty celing, it was my job to scrape off all the old foam. It was so old and worn that it came off super easy. I then wiped it clean and Nathan helped me vacuum it to make sure we had gotten all of the dust off.

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Rob and I worked together to apply the spray glue and then lay down the fabric. The whole goal, of course, was to avoid any wrinkles in the fabric, because once they dried, they were not coming out. After a couple of days in the warm shop to dry, Rob reinstalled the headliner. (I was actually working at the school that day, so it was a surprise when he came to pick us up!) It looked amazing!

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The center lighting was a little more of a challenge. I took all the pieces apart to recover the outside, then Rob had fun putting it all back together. Except for one burnt out light, it went back in beautifully. I washed the sun visors to get all the old foam dust off of them, and you can hardly tell that they were not replaced with the rest of it. And just like that, our dusty old ceiling looked brand new. I love projects where you can see such an amazing difference when you are done. I guess now we just have to decide what to work on next!

Next Stop…

After what has felt like months of pacing and wondering, the wait is finally over! Rob has been selected for a permanent position in the mountains of northern New Mexico!

We have done extensive research on the area and there are countless outdoor activities that everyone will enjoy. With everything from hunting and fishing to hiking and horseback riding, there is definitely something for everyone. Not to mention all the National Parks in the area and the opportunity to explore more states.

Since Rob will be the on-call guy for emergency response and snow removal, occupancy is required, meaning we will be moving out of Waldo and into a house. Everyone is really excited about this. When we moved into Waldo over four years ago, the kids were all pretty small, so we had a lot of room. Now, we are slowly running out of space, and everyone is looking forward to having a little more elbow room.

Perhaps what we are most excited about are the schools. They are all top rated, with every sport and activity the kids could imagine. The teacher to student ratio is impressively low and they seem to put a lot of effort into their special education program. All of these things will only benefit the kids as they continue their education.

With the kids getting older, we all agree that we need to stay in one place for the rest of their school years. So we are moving not with a traveler’s mentality, but with that of a resident. New Mexico will be our new home. We will set up shop, we will become part of the community.

Rob is scheduled to start in early February, so we will be leaving North Dakota at the end of January. I have a little over a month to get things cleaned out and organized. Almost everything in Waldo needs to join our storage unit in Great Falls for easier moving. Even though we will no longer be living in Waldo, he will still make the trip with us. We will find a nice place to park him and we plan to take him along on road trips around New Mexico and the surrounding area.

This is a really big move for us. When we began the full-time RV lifestyle over four years ago, we had no idea how long it would last. Our plan was to travel until someone decided they no longer wanted to do so. Now here we are, thousands of miles and almost two dozen states later, and our RV life is coming to an end. One never knows what the future might bring, but we are all really excited about this move. I cannot help but think that everything happens for a reason, and we are on our way to where we are meant to be.